Prof. Stuart Rowan elected to the Royal Society

Stuart Rowan, the Barry L. MacLean Professor for Molecular Engineering Innovation and Enterprise in UChicago's Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, has been elected a fellow of the Royal Society.

The world’s oldest continually existing scientific academy, the Royal Society was founded in 1660 and granted a royal charter by King Charles II in 1662. Its membership over the years has included Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Lise Meitner and Stephen Hawking. As of this month, that list includes Prof. Rowan.

“It's an enormous honor and more than a little humbling to be elected as a Fellow of a centuries-long community dedicated to expanding human knowledge,” Rowan said. “Science is very much a team effort and so this is recognition of the amazing people, students, colleagues and mentors, I have had the privilege to work and collaborate with over my career.”

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and raised in Troon, Ayrshire, on Scotland’s west coast, Rowan came to the United States for his postdoctoral studies in 1998. In 2016, he joined the Institute for Molecular Engineering (now the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering), as well as the department of chemistry. He also has a staff appointment in the Chemical and Engineering Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory and is currently the Director of the Chicago Materials Research Center, a U.S. National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).

“Stuart represents the true spirit of PME,” said Nadya Mason, dean of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. “He’s collaborative, thoughtful, innovative and tenacious. Since the moment I met him, his passion for making the world a better place has never wavered and never failed to impress.”

As part of PME's interdisciplinary Materials for Sustainability theme, the Rowan group works on the design of next generation plastics that have applications that range from energy and plastic sustainability to biomedical.

Rowan has published more than 200 scientific papers and reviews, including recent works on the creation of property-changing “pluripotent plastics,” which have potential use during missions to space or can help us rethink plastic circularity, and advancing the understanding of how oobleck-like non-Newtonian fluids work to aid in the design of new smart impact mitigation materials.

—Adapted from an article published by the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering.